VNF – the French navigable waterways authority has selected engineering and consulting firms setec and Royal HaskoningDHV to jointly manage the 12 year project to construct provide a canal link extending from France to Belgium. European operator Via Donau of Austria will act as a sub-consultant to the joint venture and support the team with the management and operation of river infrastructure.
The long awaited new Canal Seine-Nord Europe will connect the basin of the Seine near Paris, to the Scheldt, near Lille, giving access to Belgian and Dutch inland waterways networks.
Designed for vessels up to 4,400 tonnes capacity the new canal will eliminate a major bottleneck on the European waterway network and provide links with six seaports to offer an alternative method of transporting freight with access into the heart of large urban areas.
The canal will be 107 kms long, 54 m wide, 4.5 m deep and include six locks, three channel bridges, new infrastructure and 55m cu m of dry earth works.
Work is scheduled to begin in June 2015 for an opening in 2025, with a follow-up of the exploitation phase to 2027.
The Canal Seine-Nord Europe project was identified by the EU in 2014 as one of five major projects of the Trans-European Multi-Modal Corridors, marking an unprecedented infrastructure commitment. The canal investment is part of more than €20bn (UIS$) budgeted for 2014-2020, compared with €8bn (US$ ) during 2007-2013.